set ever to the 18th ranked Italian whom she'd normally overpowered.
After dropping the first set in a slow start Monday which saw Williams turn in several errors behind some masterful slices from the Italian, the American would regroup to take 12 of the last 14 games
of the match by reducing her number of errors dramatically.
“Francesca was playing so well, she was so tenacious, she has so much speed,” Williams said. “I had a little bit of a slow start.”
Williams, who reached the Melbourne final in 2003 in her best career Australian Open singles result, faces a tougher test in the quarterfinals as she is to meet the 16th seeded Na Li of China who Monday upset 4th seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3.
Li, who reached the 2009 US Open quarterfinals, possesses very consistent and aggressive groundstrokes which can trouble Williams. The 27 year old Li leads the 29 year old Venus head to head 1-0 after taking their only previous encounter 7-5, 7-5 at the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympics. Li was
the more aggressive and consistent of the two players in their previous match. Williams will need to turn the tables on her Chinese opponent if she is to advance to a possible semifinal match versus her sister, the world number one and the Australian Open defending champion Serena Williams.
A semifinal Melbourne finish for the American Venus Williams could mean a return to the top four in the WTA Tour rankings after the tournament as Williams could move from number six to four. A title win could see Williams return to a WTA Tour ranking of two.
Williams has won Wimbledon five times but is yet to claim a singles championship victory at the Australian Open.